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Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway

  The High Peaks stand in line to the south
Says Kevin Corcoran

Not a lot of privacy on the summit
Says Kevin Corcoran

Lake Placid from summit of Whiteface
Says Kevin Corcoran

Whiteface Mountain is the only one of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks that is developed. The 8-mile long Whiteface Memorial Highway takes visitors to within a few hundred feet of the summit. Visitors can take an elevator or a steep stairway from the parking
    area to the summit itself. Along with the highway you'll find a gift shop and cafeteria, as well as a summit building which combines sheltered viewing and weather monitoring equipment. A portion of Whiteface Mountain (the adjunct
peak known as Little Whiteface) includes the visibly striking and challenging Whiteface Ski Resort that was featured in both the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics, when the nearby Village of Lake Placid hosted the Olympics.

There are essentially two ''traditional'' hiking approaches to the top of Whiteface Mountain, one from the north and one from the south. The north approach, known as the Wilmington Trail, can be accessed in two different locations. This
 
trail description describes the shorter of the two routes up the Wilmington Trail, access to which can be found off of the Whiteface Memorial Highway. Parking for this jump-off point is located at the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, approximately 2 1/2 miles up the Highway.

Leaving the parking lot, the hiker descends briefly before beginning a steep and fairly lengthy climb up the slopes of the former Marble Mountain Ski area. After just under a mile of steep climbing, you will pick up the actual Wilmington Trail that ascends Whiteface. After another 1. 2 miles of moderately steep to steep climbing, you will come to a ''herd path'' coming in from the right that ascends the trailless High Peak known as Esther. The trail for Esther is described separately, but suffice it to say that many, if not most, hikers ascending the Wilmington Trail combine Esther and Whiteface into one trip.

Continuing straight at the Esther turn-off, the trail descends a bit to a low-lying wet area and then eventually levels out. This easy stretch of the Wilmington Trail covers about 7/10 of a mile before the climbing picks up again. After another 7/10 of a mile of moderately steep to steep climbing, the hiker comes up against the oustide wall of the upper reaches of Whiteface Memorial Highway. Skirting the wall, the trail is characterized by some very steep segments at this location, before becoming less steep for the final 4/10 of a mile to the summit.

From the Atmospheric Sciences Center to the summit of Whiteface, the hiker covers roughly 4. 2 miles. If you choose to start your hike from the Wilmington Reservoir, you're looking at a 5. 2 mile climb. If you opt to ascend Esther as well, add another 2. 8 miles to your trip.

Once on top of Whiteface, if the highway is open and the weather is decent, it is not uncommon to find a couple of hundred people milling about the summit, the vast majority of whom will have arrived by car. Despite what may be an insult to your sensibilities, the views from Whiteface's summit is terrific. Lake Placid (the lake, not the village), with its unique geometry, is far below but quite prominent to the southwest. Beyond Lake Placid the hiker can spot a great many of the High Peaks, including a rare northern-based view of the Great Range. To the north the hiker spots Esther and various lakes, including Union Falls Pond and Franklin Falls Pond. On a very clear day, I'm told that one can spot Mount Royal in Montreal, Canada, about 100 miles to the north. I have been on Whiteface's summit on a reasonably clear day, with a bit of haze, but I couldn't spot Mount Royal.

The return trip can be made over the route that got you to the top. Another interesting option is to descend via the Whiteface Memorial Highway. This adds a bit of overall distance to the hike, but the Highway provides mostly wide open vistas all the way down.

Says Kevin Corcoran

Roundtrip Distance 10.4 miles
Elevation Gain 3,577 ft.
Says Kevin Corcoran



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OUTDOORS_GUIDE
These outdoors activities are available near Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway.
 Trails Near Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway:
Esther Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway, Essex County , 0 miles away
Silver Lake Mountain Trail, Clinton County , 6 miles away
Cascade Mountain-Route 73 - Cascade Lakes, Essex County , 9 miles away
Porter Mountain-Route 73 - Cascade Lakes, Essex County , 9 miles away
Mt. Haystack-''The Garden,'' Keene Valley, Essex County , 10 miles away
 Campgrounds Near Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway:
North Pole Campground, Wilmington , 1 miles away
Lake Placid/Whiteface MT KOA, Wilmington , 1 miles away
KOA Kampgrounds, Wilmington , 2 miles away
Wilmington Notch Camp Ground, Upper Jay , 3 miles away
High Peaks Base Camp, Upper Jay , 5 miles away
 Whitewater Near Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway:
Ausable River - West Branch, Essex County , 1 miles away, Class I-III+ - 11 miles long (Wilmington to Ausable Forks)
Ausable River - West Branch, Essex County , 1 miles away, Class V+ - 0.25 miles long (Flume)
Ausable River - West Branch, Essex County , 3 miles away, Class V - 2 miles long (High Falls Gorge to Flume)
Ausable River - West Branch, Essex County , 4 miles away, Class V+ - 0.25 miles long (High Falls Gorge)
Little Black Brook, Clinton/ Essex County , 5 miles away, Class III-IV - 2.5 miles long (Route 17 TO West Branch Ausable River)
 Hotels Near Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway:
Courtyard Lake Placid, Lake Placid , 11 miles away
Hampton Inn Lake Placid, NY, Lake Placid , 11 miles away
Econo Lodge Lake Placid, Lake Placid , 11 miles away
Town And Country Motor Inn, Lake Placid , 11 miles away
Spruce Lodge Bed & Breakfast &, Lake Placid , 11 miles away
 Lakes Near Whiteface Mountain-Whiteface Mt. Mem. Highway
Copperas Pond, Essex County , 5 miles away
Franklin Falls Pond, Franklin County , 10 miles away
Lake Placid, Essex County , 12 miles away

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